Amazon’s Latest Offline Move: A Pop-Up Shop In Arizona

The e-tail giant has been thinking big about brick-and-mortar all year. Here’s why it’s doubling down on blending the digital and the physical.

Amazon has debuted another pop-up, this time setting up shop in a Scottsdale, AZ mall — a move that both reinforces the e-tail giant’s commitment to moving online-to-offline and reflects all retailers’ omnichannel ambitions.

Amazon announced this latest opening on Twitter, calling Phoenix-area residents to visit the pop-up to get “expert help [and] save on Amazon devices.” A link in the tweet directs followers to a mapped view of the latest location, making it more likely that mobile users will find there way to the physical spot.

But the significance of the store isn’t that Amazon has never launched a pop-up — it has — or this is a particularly unique occurrence. Rather, it’s an important step because it reminds of — and foreshadows — Amazon’s commitment to blending the digital and the physical worlds.

Offline Ambitions

Amazon’s continued investment in bringing pop-ups to diverse areas across the country comes on the heels of a bigger bigger brick-and-mortar move: Earlier this year, the company made its plans to open up physical Amazon bookstores public following a period of rampant speculation about offline ambitions.

So, here’s the real question: Why is would a global behemoth that made its name by simplifying online ordering continue spend money on expanding its presence offline?

Well, aside from current trends of online-only retailers going from clicks-to- bricks in order to capture the more than 90 percent of shopping that goes on in physical stores, studies have shown that consumers have far greater trust in Amazon’s ability to cater to them personally and to understand their needs than they do in traditional retailers, Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of beacon platform Swirl Networks, told GeoMarketing in February.

“Our research shows that Amazon is the clear leader in understanding shoppers’ preferences and delivering highly-personalized experiences – 56 percent of consumers say that Amazon demonstrates an understanding of their individual preferences and needs on a regular basis, while only 25 percent say that traditional retailers understand their preferences and needs,” Ozguc said.

In other words, Amazon feels confident that it has the data — and the omnichannel capabilites — to truly understand and address consumer preferences across devices and offline. And as far as the interest in pop-up shops themselves? They’re simply a low-cost, low-risk to get customers used to interacting with Amazon in the real world.

As we’ve written previously, a significant number of e-tailers experiment with running pop-ups to gauge the interest of their consumer base in visiting a physical location to get something they’ve always found online. But usually, that business doesn’t have anywhere near the capital and clout of an Amazon — meaning that it will be especially interesting to see how the company chooses to continue building upon its pop-up success.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.